Scarlett Johansson Rocks a Futuristic Dinner Party in the First Five Minutes of Ghost in the Shell

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Ahead of the film’s wide release next week, Paramount aired the first five minutes of its highly anticipated Ghost in the Shell film adaptation in a Facebook Live stream earlier today. [Slide to 1:30 to begin watching the preview.]

This is our first extended look at Scarlett Johansson as cyber-enhanced asskicker Major, an impossibly fluid super soldier who leaps off skyscrapers and bursts through glass in a terrorist-levelling, guns blazing, ninjitsu-flipping onslaught heavy on violent efficiency and devoid of mercy.

It isn’t clear from this opening scene exactly who dispatched the machine gun-equipped gang that Major pulverizes, although the shadowy Hanka Robotics is mentioned by an expiring kabuki robot. What is clear is the stunning future setting, a towering urban techtopia of building-sized holograms and ubiquitous robots, where wired humans download the entire French language into their brains in a few beats of song and an entire building’s security network can be scanned in moments from a virtual headset.

But that world is a backdrop to the story of Major, a one-time human whose body was so damaged in an accident that it was replaced with her exoskeleton – or so she was told. “Who is the Major is a good question,” says Johansson in the clip below, “and this film is really about the journey of self-discovery for the character.”

The Rupert Sanders-directed film, which costars Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche and Michael Pitt, will open in theaters nationwide on March 31.

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Trevor Noah Locks In Highest-Rated and Most-Watched Month Ever in February

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

On the strength of fearless political commentary and a globally resonant perspective, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah hammered through February with record ratings, wrapping his most-watched and highest-rated month with 1.5 million viewers. International ratings shot up 22 percent.

Great news, right Trevor?

via GIPHY

Even in a crowded late-night talk show space brimming with talent, Noah continues to stand out, recording the only current monthly or quarterly year-over-year ratings increase in both total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic among daily late-night talk shows:

Daily Show Ratings Success February 2017

Noah’s ratings have climbed as he offers smart, incisive commentary on a bruising political landscape of fake news and alternative facts, of accusations of mass voter fraud and U.S. immigration bans. His analysis of President Donald Trump’s first week in office has been viewed nearly 5 million times on YouTube alone:

That ratings have increased even as the news cycle accelerates under the Trump Administration is a reflection of The Daily Show staff’s creative tenacity. “Things have definitely sped up,” Daily Show head writer Zhubin Parang told Slate’s Jen Chaney recently. “We used to be able to predict what the show would be the afternoon before the day, and now we just can’t ever assume that the show we have planned at 7 p.m. the night before is going to be anything like the show that’s ultimately going to air the next day.”

While Noah’s commentary frequently critiques Republican policies and actions, part of the show’s appeal is his willingness to engage guests from across the political spectrum. His December conversation with conservative television and online video host Tomi Lahren about Black Lives Matter, the meaning of the American flag, and race relations is the show’s most-watched on YouTube:

Bold conversations like these have helped propel the show’s digital and social engagement as well, with a 42 percent bump in digital views over February 2016 and more than 6 million social actions (likes, shares, comments, reactions, retweets), a best among the daily late night shows.

 

You can join the social conversation by following The Daily Show on TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat, and by liking the show’s Facebook page.

As Noah continues on pace toward his best ratings quarter ever, Comedy Central has announced a new edition to its late-night lineup: American and Australian comedian Jim Jefferies will join the network for a weekly show starting this summer. Here’s a little taste of Jefferies’ acerbic style from a Netflix special he released last year:

“Faithfully Recreated” New Edition Story Delivers Authenticity and Torrid Ratings to BET

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

New Edition exploded out of anonymity from the Orchard Park Projects in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, selling millions of albums as the stamped the template for the boy band super-groups of the ‘90s and beyond. At one time, they were bigger than Beat It, when their 1983 debut track Candy Girl beat out one of Michael Jackson’s signature hits for the top spot on the Billboard chart. In the meteoric and fraught years that followed, they would break up and reunite while spawning the solo careers of Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill, along with the quadruple platinum collaboration of Bell Biv DeVoe.

When this foundational tale debuted over three nights last week on BET as The New Edition Story, it instantly became the network’s most-watched premiere since The Game dropped in 2012. The show went on to average more than 4 million viewers per episode across BET and sister network Centric while dominating the social media conversation for three consecutive nights.

The tale resonated in part due to its raw, unfiltered nature, delivering the uncensored drama of the exhilarating climb to success, the infighting that led to break-ups and reunions, the wild back-stage mingling amid groupies and substances, and the financial collapses that defied their spotlight. This scene depicting the group members’ mothers’ rage at receiving a check for $1.87 after a sprawling and highly successful tour is typical:

“Normally biopics are padded with dramatic falsehoods for entertainment,” wrote Billboard’s Niki McGloster, “but as the executive producers of the film, New Edition kept the story true to how they lived it.”

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Paramount’s Promotion for Rings has Over 200 Million Views in Just 24 Hours: Here’s Why

Paramount took integrated marketing to a new level with an elaborate, terrifying promotional stunt for Rings on Monday, Jan. 23.

The world first met Samara, the eerie young girl with matted hair and a penchant for crawling out of television screens, in 2002 when the first Ring movie premiered. The sequel followed in 2005, freaking out audiences around the world with the potent combination of prophetic phone calls, fuzzy TV screens, and burning trees.

But it’s been over a decade since we last saw Samara, and Paramount wants to make sure we haven’t forgotten her.

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Showcase Your Top Model Look With VH1’s America’s Next Top Model Selfie Contest

Do you think you have the chops to make it as a top model?

Are you passionate about posing? A master of Snapchat?

VH1‘s latest contest is giving fans of America’s Next Top Model the chance to put their selfie skills to the test.

Each week during the 23rd cycle of ANTM, VH1 and Rimmel will launch an exclusive filter. Fans can showcase their shots by heading to Rimmel.VH1.com and following these steps:

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Four Viacom Overachievers Make Cablefax List of Young Talent

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Cablefax recently laid out their annual tally of 100 Overachievers Under 30, and four Viacom employees made the list. This is a diverse and capable group. They line up social talent for marketing campaigns. They manage sprawling networks of digital and social channels. They coordinate programming strategies across linear and digital channels. They create custom co-branded campaigns for partners and networks.

And they are just getting started.

While they work across many of our networks and divisions – Epix, CMT, TV Land, and our Velocity in-house agency are all represented – a common thread of their workday seems to be the freedom to pursue creative solutions to novel challenges.

“I love the variety of campaigns I get to work on and the creative freedom I have to make each of them unique,” says Julie Feinerman, social media manager at Epix.

Each of the honorees was “excited,” “surprised,” “thrilled,” or “honored” to make the list, while pointing to the guidance of role models who helped them develop the work ethic and grit to achieve career success.

“My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire,” says Lauren Elias, a social talent coordinator for Viacom Velocity. “She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just getting the job done are keys to success.”

In addition to Feinerman and Zalkind, CMT’s Kate Warburton and Velocity’s Brian O’Toole also represent Viacom on the annual Cablefax list. They will be honored at a reception later this month. Scroll down to learn a bit more about each of these Viacom standouts.

Young Viacom talent frequently makes these industry lists, with several, including Elias, making Cynopsis’ Rising Stars roster earlier this year. Cablefax frequently mines the company’s deep talent pool when it sorts out the best in the industry, including its recent lists of top minorities and most powerful women in cable.

LAUREN ELIAS, SOCIAL TALENT COORDINATOR, VIACOM VELOCITY

Lauren EliasTenure: 4 years

What she does: Discovers, casts, and manages social talent for Velocity projects, integrated marketing campaigns, and more

What she loves most about her job at Viacom: I love discovering new talent that our brand partners and network executive are excited about.

Her reaction when she found out she was named as a Cablefax Overachiever: I was super excited. It was all the more reason to continue working hard toward my career goals.

What she is most looking forward to about the networking reception on Dec. 14: Meeting like-minded colleagues who feel proud about their work.

Can you point to a mentor or role model who helped you achieve success so young? My first boss at MTV, Jessica Zalkind, who continues to be a mentor and #ladyboss that I admire.

What specific advice did they give you that stuck with you? She taught me that hard work, and going beyond just “getting the job done” are keys to success. I also have to thank my current boss, Tom DeNapoli, who always supports me, always trusts me, always champions me, and always teaches me.

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Viacom Remains the Top Cable Family, Digital Traffic Surges & More Q4 Highlights

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

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As Viacom reports fourth quarter and full-year earnings, there is great momentum driving many of our brands: The top reality show on cable, an enormous surge in VMA streams, the 20th anniversary of South Park, the continued surge in ratings at TV Land and VH1. Check out the details in the slides above.

Behind this strong programming, Viacom continues its long run as the most-viewed family of cable networks, with the most non-sports shows in the top 20 and more than half of the top children’s programs. We’ve also seen a surge in digital, mobile and social consumption:

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Right Around the Bend: See What Our Brands Offer for the Final Days of Election Coverage

It’s time.

While you wait in line to cast your vote, check out what MTV, BET, and Comedy Central are doing to represent their diverse audiences with unique media coverage of one of the most memorable elections in U.S. History.
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Why “He Didn’t Mean It” Has Got to Go

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

We’ve all heard the excuses.

“Well, he was drunk.”

“But he’s such a nice guy.”

“He didn’t mean it.”

But they don’t excuse anything. For survivors of sexual violence, these words – their stubborn, insistent existence – only exasperates the pain.

But:

“He said he was sorry.”

“It was just a misunderstanding.”

“It only happened once.”

So what can be done? After all, boys will be boys. Right?

“It’s none of my business.”

“This is a women’s issue.”

“Yeah, no, we don’t talk about that.”

Right?

“We’re never gonna change it.”

“It’s sad, but, um, we’re never gonna fix it.”

The Joyful Heart Foundation does not believe that we will never fix this. That a culture that excuses rape and sexual assault is normal. That there are any excuses left. That boys will just always be boys, and what boys will be is dismissive, aggressive, willful, and, ultimately, excused.

The organization believes that we have had “Enough.” In a powerful new PSA campaign of the same name, produced in conjunction with Viacom Velocity, the organization commandeers these vile but pervasive words and challenges men to actively transform how we view and talk about sexual assault.

They brought company. Joyful Heart founder Mariska Hargitay, who also stars on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, rallied her costars and many other public figures to stand up against this archaic language: Andre Braugher, Andrew Rannells, Anthony Edwards, Blair Underwood, Chris Meloni, Daniel Dae Kim, Dann Florek, Danny Pino, Dave Navarro, David Marciano, Ice-T, Nick Lachey, Peter Hermann, Raul Esparza and Tate Donovan.

The series of PSAs, which will air across MTV, VH1, TV Land, BET, and Spike, among other Viacom properties, is a bold challenge to men: let’s change how we talk about this, so we can, some day, end it.

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